Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

This second, updated edition of the acclaimed A Field Guide to Gettysburg will lead visitors to every important site across the battlefield and also give them ways to envision the action and empathize with the soldiers involved and the local people into whose lives and lands the battle intruded. Ideal for carrying on trips through the park as well as for the armchair historian, this book includes comprehensive maps and deft descriptions of the action that situate visitors in time and place. Continue Reading Battle of Gettysburg Field Guide

The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Juneteenth is a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that declared freedom for all slaves in states still in rebellion. Continue Reading The History of Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

K. Stephen Prince: Thinking about Reconstruction at 150 Years

Reconstruction remains one of the most widely misunderstood eras in United States history. Though historians have largely discredited the white supremacist interpretations of William A. Dunning and his students, the Dunning School lives on in the public at large. Otherwise informed and well-meaning individuals unthinkingly parrot early-twentieth-century critiques of Reconstruction, casually dismissing it as an era of federal overreach, northern cruelty, and cynical corruption. My own experience bears out this observation: a friend who claims that Reconstruction failed because it was “too harsh,” or a student who labels the period a “tragedy” without being able to provide a single reason for this characterization. I expect other scholars of the period have had similar experiences. It seems that on an instinctive, knee-jerk level, many Americans respond negatively to Reconstruction, though most could not explain why. The 150th anniversary of Reconstruction offers a perfect opportunity to set the record straight, or at least to give the public a fair accounting of the period’s challenges, its successes, and its failures. Continue Reading K. Stephen Prince: Thinking about Reconstruction at 150 Years

Excerpt: War on the Waters, by James M. McPherson

In this excerpt, McPherson discusses the blockade on the Confederacy and how if affected the definition of the Confederacy as insurrectionist or a legitimate nation. Continue Reading Excerpt: War on the Waters, by James M. McPherson

Video: Elizabeth Leonard talks to The Civil War Monitor

In this video, Elizabeth Leonard talks to the Civil War Monitor about Joseph Holt. She says Joseph Holt is “a very much forgotten personage from our historical past, and he’s someone who I think is probably the most important people from Lincoln’s administration who has been forgotten about.” Continue Reading Video: Elizabeth Leonard talks to The Civil War Monitor

Jason Morgan Ward: The Short Distance from Civil War to Civil Rights

This year marks two momentous and inseparable moments in the history of American race relations: the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. That most commemorations of the former have neglected to mention the latter reveals a nagging reluctance to connect too directly the Civil War and the modern civil rights movement. But for white southerners in the mid-20th century, the link between Civil War and civil rights was crystal clear. Continue Reading Jason Morgan Ward: The Short Distance from Civil War to Civil Rights

James Marten: Not Just Fading Away: Civil War “Veteranizing”

For Civil War veterans, every day was Memorial Day. They refused to limit their own commemorations to one or two days per year. Continue Reading James Marten: Not Just Fading Away: Civil War “Veteranizing”

Remembering the Civil War with Confederate Hair

With April comes spring flowers, events marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and, in states across the South, celebrations of Confederate History Month. But if you’re serious about your commemorations, why not buy some Confederate hair? Continue Reading Remembering the Civil War with Confederate Hair

Interview: Graham Russell Gao Hodges

David Ruggles (1810-1849) was one of the most heroic–and has been one of the most often overlooked–figures of the early abolitionist movement in America. Graham Russell Gao Hodges provides the first biography of this African American activist, writer, and publisher who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, including Frederick Douglass. Hodges’s… Continue Reading Interview: Graham Russell Gao Hodges

‘Confederate Minds’ and the Page 99 Test

We’ve previously mentioned the “Page 99 Test,” with which one can “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you,” according to Ford Madox Ford. Marshal Zeringue edits a blog that follows this theme, asking authors to test their books and analyze the content based… Continue Reading ‘Confederate Minds’ and the Page 99 Test

The starting lineup for The Journal of the Civil War Era

Back in April we mentioned a call for papers for the inaugural edition of The Journal of the Civil War Era, a peer-review journal published in collaboration with UNC Press and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Pennsylvania State University. There’s been great response, and the issues are starting to take… Continue Reading The starting lineup for The Journal of the Civil War Era

Sutherland Wins Inaugural Tom Watson Brown Book Award

We know, we know. Winning isn’t everything, but we have to admit, it sure does feel good!  Author Daniel Sutherland was awarded the first ever Tom Watson Brown Book Award, a $50,000 prize, by the Society of Civil War Historians, for his book A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War. The… Continue Reading Sutherland Wins Inaugural Tom Watson Brown Book Award

Interview: Victoria E. Bynum

Each month on the UNC Press homepage, we feature a handful of interviews with authors. I’d like to bring them over and share them with you blog readers because they’re so often just fun and interesting. I want to start by introducing Victoria E. Bynum, author of three books with us, including, most recently, The… Continue Reading Interview: Victoria E. Bynum

Lincoln’s Legacy

Though the American Civil War was a multi-year event, spanning four years of death and destruction, it seems to be most tied to the month of April. The cruel month was host to the first battle of the war, at Fort Sumter, as well as the Confederate surrender at Appomattox in 1865. However, the most… Continue Reading Lincoln’s Legacy

National Women’s History Month: Women at War

If you are familiar with the UNC Press Blog, you probably know that we know a thing or two about celebrating. If it has a national celebration day, week, or month, we probably have it marked on our calendars well in advance. Why else would we have a 1000-word post on the merits of National… Continue Reading National Women’s History Month: Women at War

Two Inaugural Addresses–two weeks apart

Early 1861 marked the only time in our nation’s history that it had two presidents, both calling for a return to the republic born in the American Revolution. On February 18, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as the President of the Confederate States of America; on March 4, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President… Continue Reading Two Inaugural Addresses–two weeks apart

Gettysburg Remembered

For many, today means the last day at the office before a long weekend goes into effect for Independence Day. However, Civil War buffs and historians recognize July 2nd as day two of another important event in American history – the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. In the three hours of fighting on this evening… Continue Reading Gettysburg Remembered

Today in history: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina were readmitted to the Union

Reunited and it feels so good; okay, so maybe 1868 wasn’t as smooth as a pop song.  There were a few kinks to work out.  How would secessionist states regain self-governing status?  How would newly freedmen be integrated into southern society?  What would become of the leaders of the Confederacy?  Reconstruction proved to be one… Continue Reading Today in history: Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina were readmitted to the Union

Anne Rubin Follows the Traces of Sherman’s March

I set out on a bright June day, heading south to retrace the path of William Tecumseh Sherman’s 1865 march through the Carolinas.  I’m currently working on a project about the way Americans have remembered Sherman’s March, and I had already driven across Georgia the spring before.  Now it was time to work my way… Continue Reading Anne Rubin Follows the Traces of Sherman’s March

Places to go, people to see

The sun is just starting to break through the morning cloud cover on this warm spring day. Last day of sunshine before we roll into a week of rain here in the Triangle, say the weather forecasters, so let’s make the most of it! In the next few days, there will be several opportunities to… Continue Reading Places to go, people to see